Yacht in 1MDB scandal returned to Malaysia: PM Mahathir

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A man covers his mouth as he walks past a 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 27, 2015.

Lawyers representing the wanted financier, also known as Jho Low, filed a notice yesterday to a California district court to direct the U.S. government to reveal its knowledge of the yacht's transfer.

Low, through a spokesman from his legal team, has described the handing over of the yacht to Malaysia as illegal and politically motivated.

Low, who has so far evaded arrest, issued a statement through his USA attorney on Monday protesting the handover of the yacht as an "illegal act" for ignoring court proceedings in the United States. His current whereabouts are unknown but Malaysian authorities have said they want to bring him back to the country and prosecute him.

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The fund, founded by Najib, is at the center of money-laundering probes in at least six countries, including the United States, Switzerland and Singapore.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has thanked Indonesian authorities for returning the yacht, saying it belongs to Malaysia because it was bought with money stolen from the 1MDB fund. Officials have said the yacht will be sold to the highest bidder to recover the stolen fund.

Earlier today, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was expected to be arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) after they have taken his statement to assist in the ongoing investigations.

Najib left the building after about 45 minutes.

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The government has said it plans to open the Equanimity to public viewing, before eventually selling it off.

He said the Attorney-General's Chambers had invoked the Admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court of Malaya at Kuala Lumpur against the "Equanimity" yesterday. Najib, who set up and oversaw 1MDB, denies any wrongdoing.

Cynthia Gabriel, a member of an official team set up to recover assets allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB money, said that the Equanimity being handed over to Malaysia was "very significant".

A total of $4.5 billion was allegedly misappropriated by top-level 1MDB officials and their associates, according to civil lawsuits filed by the USA justice department.

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